The Baofeng UV-82HP: the perfect starter HT?

When I was first licensed back in 2019, I literally knew just about nothing about ham radio equipment. Yes, I knew enough theory to get my ticket, but I had never owned a radio other than a couple of those "bubble pack" commercial FRS/GMRS radios. 

Before you groan and roll your eyes about buying a Baofeng, I will agree with the purists in the audience who will quote all of the issues around Baofengs: they have poor spurious signal rejection, some of them aren't exactly FCC compliant, etc, etc. That being said, the dual-band Baofeng UV-82HP is a darn good little radio, at an amazing price. 

Today, when hams regularly pay over $400 for a well-known Japanese radio, TWO these little Chinese beauties go for $60, including desk chargers, programming cable, extended batteries, and two external speaker mic. Accessories are dirt cheap as well. Need another extended battery? $19. 

Here are the pros and cons of the UV-82HP:


  • High power: 8 watts (7 watts on UHF)
  • Pretty good battery life: mine lasts for hours and hours without running down, even with high duty cycles, and an extended battery is available
  • Full coverage of VHF and UHF bands, including MARS/CAP and FRS/GMRS
  • Dual receive and separate "A/B" band PTT switches
  • Very loud speaker with good audio quality
  • Easily programmable with free Chirp software (PC/Mac/Linux), and lots of helpful videos on YouTube
  • Receives commercial FM radio band
  • Commercial build quality; very sturdy
  • Flashlight and even an emergency siren!
  • Uses common dual-pin external microphones
  • And last....they're cheap! So what if you drop one in a lake? Buy another one! You can buy 7 of these radios for the cost of a Yaesu FT-5DR!
  • As noted above, adjacent signal rejection isn't great, but it isn't terrible either. This is mainly an issue in high RFI environments, such as if you're operating from a repeater site. These radios are compliant with FCC regulations, so no issues there.
  • Reverse SMA (male) antenna connector: means you'll probably have to buy a separate antenna or an adapter unless you have other Chinese radios
  • Programming from the keypad isn't great, but it's also easier (IMO) than most Yaesu HTs that cost hundreds of dollars more
  • Desktop charger build isn't great. My original one died after a couple of years. Good news? Replacements are only $10!
  • Some hams will scowl at you when they see you're sporting a Baofeng. Pfft!
In summary, if you're looking for a decent, reliable, high power dual-band HT that's easy to program and so cheap they're nearly disposable, don't hesitate to pick up one (or two) of these beauties. They make a perfect radio for SOTA (Summits on the Air), and with an extended antenna like the $20 Super-elastic Signal Stick, coupled with the high power rating, you can hit a whole lot of repeaters and do a lot of simplex rag chewing for not a lot of cash.
That all said, I do REALLY REALLY REALLY love my Yaesu FT-5DR. But that's for another blog....



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